Lupus, also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE, is a complex disease that can be difficult to diagnose. It affects many areas of body including the joints, skin and kidneys. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with lupus each year. Like other autoimmune diseases, in lupus, cells essentially make the bad decision to attack the body’s own cells.
Symptoms vary but can include fatigue, joint pain, a red rash on the face (also called the "butterfly rash") and fever. These symptoms can periodically get worse (flare-up) and then improve. Lupus flares can range from mild to severe, often resulting in periods in which the disease is relatively quiescent. Currently, no cures exist for lupus, and treatment often involves corticosteroids, other immune suppressants or organ transplants. But research is providing hope for better diagnosis, treatments and even cures.
At Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), research programs study the cells which regulate lupus to further understand disease pathogenesis - or the development of the disease – translating these findings into therapeutic targets. In addition, clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate novel therapies in this disease.
BRI’s lupus biorepository collects volunteers’ blood samples and medical histories to learn more about the variance of lupus in different people. People with lupus and family members without lupus can also join the biorepository to help with medical research.
This is part 1 of a 4-part series.
October 11, 2017
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This blog does not provide medical advice, nor is it a substitute
for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.